Is Low-Fat Milk Just Watered Down? Get the Whole Truth

You’ve heard this one before. Perhaps, you’ve even said it. “Low-fat milk is watered-down milk.” The whole truth is, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Milk is highly regulated and there is a “standard of identity” for milk, meaning cows’ milk cannot include added water and still be called milk.

Composition of Cow’s Milk

How is Reduced or Low-Fat Milk Made?

  • Large strainers are used to separate the fat particles from the rest of the milk.
  • No water is added. You can confirm this by checking the label.
  • Look at the label in your fridge. If it’s cows’ milk, it says milk, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. That’s it. Good. Fresh. Natural.

So, why then does reduced fat or fat-free milk look less, well, milky? Because the fat is part of what makes milk white – it’s naturally present as tiny particles suspended in the milk (thanks, homogenization). The particles reflect light, making the milk appear more opaque, dense…milky!

Pour a glass of low-fat milk and you still get all benefits of whole milk, just with less fat.

So, there you have it scientists, that’s the whole truth. Want more milk matters materials? Learn more here.

By Susan Allen

Susan grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma and has over 30 years of experience working in agriculture. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2007 and has worked with schools, health and wellness professionals and farmers. When she's not working, Susan is usually helping one of her kids with a 4-H project. Learn more about Susan

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